Bavuttiyude Namathil, a Mammootty-starrer directed by G.S. Vijayan and scripted by Ranjith, is the story of Bavutty, and how he influences those around him through his simple living.
The mansion on top of the hill looks elegant, its sparkling white façade, surrounded by a tennis court, a huge swimming pool, extensive manicured gardens et. al. This palatial house at Chevayoor in Kozhikode would undoubtedly look even more spectacular on screen, you think, as actors Mammootty, Kavya Madhavan, Kaniha, Shankar Ramakrishnan, Harisree Ashokan and Sudheesh listen to instructions from director G.S. Vijayan. Rima Kallingal and Vineeth are also scheduled to shoot later in the day. It’s the location for Bavuttiyude Namathil, scripted and produced by Ranjith.
Everything is set for the first scene of the day, to be shot on the verandah of the house. Kavya and Shankar, seated on chairs, are talking to Mammootty, who is sitting on the floor. They are joined soon by Sudheesh, Ashokan and Kaniha.
“This mansion is the home of Sethu and Vanaja, the characters played by Shankar and Kavya. Mammootty dons the role of their chauffer, Bavutty. Kaniha acts as their maid, while Sudheesh and Ashokan are Bavutty’s friends. This scene tries to establish that Bavutty is more than a chauffer in this home; he plays a crucial role in the lives of Sethu and Vanaja,” explains Vijayan, who has directed films such as Aanavaalmothiram, Ghoshayathra and Charithram.
Meanwhile, cinematographer Manoj Pillai seems bothered by the reflection he sees on the bay window of the house. It takes some time for him to adjust the camera to get the perfect frame. A few takes later, the director calls ‘cut’.
The next shot is a close-up of Kavya, who looks fetching in a yellow and brown salwar. She repeats some of her dialogues from the earlier scene, and the director okays the shot in no time. Says the actor: “I play a really strong character and I’m thrilled that I get to speak my native dialect – that of Neeleswaram in Kasaragod. I also got to give some inputs to Ranjith about how my dialogues would sound!”
Even as she speaks, Vineeth arrives. She greets him heartily, flashing him a bright smile. “You did not greet me this happily!” Mammootty protests in jest, which sends the rest of the actors into fits of laughter.
Mammootty, dressed in a pista-green short-sleeved shirt and white ‘mundu’, waves to a large group of admirers who have come to catch a glimpse of him. He even poses for the cameras – or mobile phone cameras, to be precise – for a lucky few. Everyone, it seems, want to take pictures with him and he accommodates as many requests as he can before his next shot. Mammootty’s next shot is with Rima Kallingal, who is dressed in a light blue cotton sari and a matching hijab. Mammootty is dusting a white-coloured Toyota Fortuner, as Rima walks out of the house. She refuses his offer of a lift.
Rima’s work is finished for the day. “I play a cameo in the film – that of a Muslim woman for the first time in my career. It is interesting to play a simple, non-Westernised girl for a change. My character is a teacher who takes tuition for the children of the house. I wanted to be part of a film that is written by Ranjith, so the length of the role didn’t matter,” she says.
Scriptwriter Ranjith is also on the set. Why is he not directing the film, we wonder? “Vijayan and I go back a long way. I had promised to write a script for him quite a while ago. He is a capable director who can bring my script, with all its intricacies, to life on screen,” says Ranjith.
“Bavuttiyude Namathil is about two men and their attitude towards life. While Sethu’s biggest concern is making money, Bavutty is happy to lead a simple life. The film is also about how the opposite attitudes of the duo affect Vanaja,” he elaborates.
Ranjith has many visitors on the set on the day – among them are directors Lal Jose and V.M. Vinu, and singer and composer Shahabaz Aman, who has tuned the songs for Bavuttiyude Namathil (lyrics have been penned by Rafeeq Ahmed). Stills are by Paul Bathery. Bavuttiyude Namathil, produced under the banner of Capitol Theatres, will reach cinemas in December.